History of the AO and Its Global Effect on Operative Fracture Treatment

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In 1958 a group of Swiss general and orthopaedic surgeons established the AO (Arbeitsge-meinschaft für Osteosynthesefragen) or the Association of the Study of Internal Fixation (ASIF) to strive to transform the contemporary treatment of fractures in Switzerland. This association was revolutionary in development of instruments and implants for operative fracture treatment. The first instructional course for teaching the use of these instruments and implants occurred in Davos, Switzerland, in the newly founded Laboratory of Experimental Surgery in 1960. Through a process of internal quality control (AO documentation) the clinical success of these new techniques and implants became evident. Operative fracture treatment gained acceptance throughout Europe and finally worldwide. AO/International (AOI) was founded in 1972 to expand education and the teaching programs for surgeons and operating personnel on an international basis. In 1984, the AO/ASIF Foundation was created with an AO Board of Trustees comprising 90 leading trauma surgeons from throughout the world. Continuous research, implant and instrument development, clinical documentation, and multifaceted educational opportunities are coordinated by the AO/ASIF Foundation to maintain its position as the international authority in the treatment of trauma. The medical community recognizes today the enormous positive global effect that this respected and ever changing organization has had by continually improving operative fracture treatment.

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